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What is the Difference Between Burglary and Robbery?

On January 5, CBS Miami reported that a 30-year-old man and 38-year-old woman who were and awaiting sentencing for multiple burglaries were arrested after they were spotted allegedly attempting to burglarize another place. According to CBS Miami, the duo was out on bond for 40 alleged burglaries

Less than a week later, a 19-year-old Miami Beach man was arrested after three alleged robberies over the course of three months. Local 10 News reported that the alleged offender robbed juveniles of property that included cell phones and debit cards in three separate incidents between November 2016 and January of this year. 

The alleged offenders in both of these cases allegedly had the intent to deprive their alleged victims of property, so why are they facing different criminal charges? While robbery and burglary are often used interchangeably, the truth is that these are two separate and distinct criminal charges. 

Burglary is a criminal offense that specifically involves an alleged offender illegally entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit a crime, while robbery can occur anywhere. Robbery is defined under Florida Statute § 812.13(1) as “the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.” 

Most (but not all) burglary cases do not involve the presence of alleged victims, but victims must be present in order for an offense to constitute robbery. The one thing that burglary and robbery have in common is that both are classified as felony offenses in Florida.

Robbery and Burglary Defense Lawyer in Miami, FL

In burglary cases, it is important to understand how state law defines a dwelling, structure, and conveyance, as the location can impact the severity of the criminal charges. Florida Statute § 810.011 provides the following definitions for these types of locations: 

  • Structure — A building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof; 
  • Dwelling — A building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether such building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the curtilage thereof; and 
  • Conveyance — Any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. 

Under Florida Statute § 810.02, burglary is a third-degree felony if an alleged offender does not make an assault or battery, is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and enters or remains in a structure or conveyance when there is not another person present. Burglary is a second-degree felony if an alleged offender does not make an assault or battery, is not and does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive, and the enters or remains in a structure or conveyance when there is another person present or any dwelling, regardless of whether another person is present. If an alleged offender makes an assault or battery upon any person, is or becomes armed within a dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon, or enters an occupied or unoccupied dwelling or structure and either uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense, and thereby damages the dwelling or structure, or causes damage to the dwelling or structure, or to property within the dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000, burglary becomes a first-degree felony. 

Robbery is a second-degree felony when an alleged offender does not carry a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapons in the commission of the alleged offense. If a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon was used in the commission of an alleged robbery, then the crime becomes a first-degree felony. 

Burglary and robbery are both serious crimes to be accused of, and any person facing either charge will want to make sure that he or she has legal representation before saying anything to authorities. If you were arrested for one of these types of theft crimes, you should contact Miami criminal defense attorney Evan Hoffman as soon as possible.

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